Challenge #02036-E212: One QuestionsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #fiction6 years ago


A new revolution was in motion and it’s progress could not be stopped.
After all, nerds are nothing if not stubborn in their pursuit of knowledge.
They were going to enlighten (pun totally intended) this oppressed world, plant the ideas and curiosity that the new power tried so hard to exterminate. They were going to return to the world the gift Aelria gave to them when she told them “look up”.
After all, nerds never die out. They just go stealth. -- A-Literal-Fan

[AN: Callback to this story for those of you who don't want to go archive trawling]

It's easy to be angry at something that you don't understand. Many chose the easy path. Screaming, yelling, or firing weapons at the unfamiliar lights in the sky. Many were hit by falling projectiles. A few died. Some called it the Reckoning, and said it was an indicator of their God's wrath for sins real, imagined, or impossible.

Some stared, stunned, not knowing what it was they saw. And when the power went back on, and the night sky returned to its familiar black under the glare of the city lights, they went back indoors and swallowed what the media told them. Hook, line, and sinker.

But a few. A rare and precious few. Wondered. They wondered, What was that? and, How did it happen? and, Why did a power failure cause it? The news reports said it was a terrorist act, but never explained how it was done or what had been used or even what the message was besides, "A message of hate."

They had questions and no answers. And few people to talk about it with. For the few months that the 'attack' was news, they could send out feelers. Like, "You ever wonder how she did it?" or "What even was that, do you know?"

Small groups began to band together. Finding spaces where the invading eye of the ruling class couldn't see them. Where the listening ears of the secret police couldn't hear them. They were called Question Clubs, by those who made them. And there was always a well-paid goon at the door to check those who came looking for answers.

For the first few months, theories abounded. There could be more lights, higher up than the tallest structure in the city. And debate reigned about how they got up there, what they were stuck to, and what made them not fall and kill millions.

Groups dedicated themselves to unriddling Aelria's final words. To encoding their findings in superstition and magical thinking. To saying one thing and meaning another.

Some hid journals of their discoveries and codes. Some, like Aelria, buried time capsules of their important discoveries. One devoted their life to mathematically disproving everything their glorious leader said, or said he did. They hid behind games. Behind songs. Behind a counterculture slang so thick that it bordered on sedition. Behind sigils that only meant something to the people who were willing to learn.

The empire fell, as all empires must when they slide into ignorance and superstition. And the lights were put out by wars caused by internal conflicts seething under the surface. And then there was no more wall of light caused by the glittering city.

People were afraid. They yelled and cursed and screamed and wasted their ammunition on the sparkling sky. Those who belonged to the Question Clubs had theories. They had knowledge. And some... had buried treasures.

To these smaller groups who were frightened and looking for any kind of answer, these people with knowledge stepped forward. They said, "I know what this is," with authority. And began to tell them about the universe.

The world is a ball, they said, floating in space. Kept in a circular dance around the sun just as it keeps the moons dancing around us. The things in the night are called stars, and they are other suns that are very, very far away. Those suns have worlds, too. The ancients knew this. They looked. They found ways to find them.

One day, we will find ways to see them ourselves.

This is a book, they said. The marks are called 'writing'. This is how it works. This is how to write. This is how to find things out. This is the scientific method.

Look and see. Test and discover. Theorise. Attempt to destroy that theory. Experiment. Learn. And write things down for the next people. And the next people. And the next, next people...

A new world grows from one seed of knowledge. A quiet revolution brings forgotten wisdom to light. All because of one question to start it all:

What are those?

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / 123dartist]

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Chuck dammit, I read that last line in the vine voice. well played.

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